Future Trends

US Air Force Selects GA-ASI, Anduril to Develop Drone Wingmen

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US Air Force Selects GA-ASI, Anduril to Develop Drone Wingmen

The Department of the Air Force has selected General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. and Anduril to advance to the development and production phase of its collaborative combat aircraft program that started with five competing vendors.

The CCA project aims to produce drones with a wide range of capabilities, including offensive strike and surveillance, for flight mission support to the Air Force’s sixth-generation jetfighters and current fifth-generation manned aircraft. GA-ASI, announcing its CCA advancement, said three test flights have been conducted on its drone prototype for the program. 

The project has a $557 million allocation in the fiscal year 2025 Air Force budget request, with planned spending of nearly $9 billion up to FY 2029, DefenseScoop reported Wednesday.

The Air Force’s FY 2024 budget proposal provides almost $50 million to test F-16 autonomous capability and gather data on pilot and machine interaction to inform CCA.

GA-ASI and Anduril edged Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing in the CCA’s initial phase, but the three companies will continue to be part of the program’s larger vendor pool composed of over 20 companies. The Air Force said it is on schedule for a competitive production order for the CCA drones’ first increment in FY 2026.    

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, a Wash100 award winner, disclosed at an Air and Space Forces Association event in March 2023 that CCA will bring in 1,000 drone wingmen to enhance the Air Force’s crewed aircraft fleet, boost pilot performance and foster safer flight missions.

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Category: Future Trends

Tags: Anduril Collaborative Combat Aircraft DefenseScoop drone Frank Kendall Future Trends General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. US Air Force